Thursday, 2 August 2012

Monet's Garden

At the famed writer's roundtable at the Algonquin hotel (which is now run by Marriott, boo) they used to play a word game in which a word was shouted and you had to give a witty definition on the spot. Someone gave Dorothy Parker the word "Horticulture", in which she quipped, "You can lead a whore to culture, but you can't make her think".

Which made me giggle when I was 14 and it makes me giggle today still, especially when I find myself wandering around a beautiful oasis such as the garden in back of Monet's house.

I know that impressionist painting is kind of a gateway drug into fine art, and people love love love the impressionist wings at any museum. I grow a little tired of it- I feel it got really over exposed and commercialized with all this waterlilies this and waterlilies that printed on every imaginably surface. It's not my favorite style, but I realize that it was am important step in the abstract direction.

I'm not going to pass up a chance to check out a beautiful garden though.

I've been wanting to make the trip up for a while, but I really didn't want to deal with a rainy day. I'm glad I waited. This wouldn't have been a fun day otherwise.


It's an easy trip- a 45 minute train ride from St Lazare to Vernon station, and then either a quiet country walk for a couple miles, or a shuttle bus will bring you to the village of Giverny.


If you want to skip the line to get in, which is breathtakingly long, you can buy your tickets online in advance, or take a stroll over to the Impressionist Museum down the street and buy a combined ticket, and then you can smugly cut in front of everyone.


The gardens were lovely. The layers and layers of colors was just incredible. I don't think I've ever been to in such a highly concentrated pollenated area.


I was in awe of the work that went into this place.

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Everyone flocks to the part of the garden which because synonymous with Monet- the Waterlilies.


What begins as a quiet forest stream turns into the pond where his most famous works were painted. In French, these works are known as Les Nymphéas.


Inspired by prints from Japan, Monet had built himself a Japanese style water garden on a stream by the Seine.


It really does look like a Monet painting!

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You couldn't help but feeling inspired by it.


I mean, I hate to gush and all, but it's a really lovely place.


July just happens to be when Les Nymphéas are in bloom. I'm sure it's lovely at any time of the year, but it was a real treat to see the blooms on the water.

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We did make it a point to go very early in the morning, but it got crowded really quickly. We had a few quiet moments where the world was just sunny and peaceful and happy.

There were bees everywhere!


I'm actually surprised they aren't selling special Monet Honey in the giftshop.


You couldn't take pictures inside the house, but it had a lot of the Japanese art on the walls, a recreation of his studio, bedrooms with a garden view, and a really nice big kitchen.

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I could have stayed there all day, watching the light change and watching the bees fill up their bee-pants with pollen.


The people watching wasn't all the bad either.

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If you are in Paris and want to take a countryside daytrip, I would highly recommend it. Go early or on the weekdays to avoid the crowds, and they close from November-April.

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